roy herndon smith

there is no there there—Gertrude Stein

there’s always a there
there in a blaze of the sun
bouncing off a black
street into my face
and over there send the word
where a bay glows blue

later a deep blue
night is a fathomless there
where like a sole word
mirroring the sun
a crescent moon cools my face
and a bay is black

Stein stands on a black
Oakland street under a blue
expanse and faces
the there that’s not there
her childhood home in the sun
not mirrored in words

there’s a there of words
but each word is like each black
street under each sun
blazing in each blue
there that’s never again there
we return to face

but the face we face
in a street a moon a word
is another there
a home lost in black
memory fading in blue
blasted by the sun

here the morning sun
is gentle on my wet face
over there the blue
is shattered with words
tossing bodies in the black
there is no there there

the sun sends the word
we’re coming to face the black
it’s blue over there